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Someone's Portrait

5.24 - 6.25, 2016

Hong Kong

Tang Contemporary Art is thrilled to present Xie Nanxing’s solo exhibition “Someone’s Portrait” at its Hong Kong gallery, curated by Cui Cancan. The exhibition features seven works from the artist, including three works on paper and four oil paintings from his Someone’s Portrait series. The exhibition focuses on Xie Nanxing’s portraits for the first time in the form of case studies, exploring the methods of his artistic practice, the source of his understanding and creation to demonstrate his concept of the ‘portrait’ and how they come to form through personal choice and reflection. 



Cui Cancan is an active Chinese independent curator. He was the winner of the CCAA (Chinese Contemporary Art Award) Critics’ Award, Critics’ Award in Chinese contemporary art by YISHU (Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art), the annual award by L’OFFICIEL Art and so on. He was also appointed special observer for the 13th Kassel Documenta. As a curator, Cui contributed to the success of major exhibitions including Heiqiao Night Away (2013), FUCKOFF II (2013), Unlived by What is Seen (2014), Ai Weiwei solo exhibition (2015), etc.


Cui Cancan | “Someone’s Portrait” Exhibition: A Conversation

Cui Cancan (CCC): When did the series Someone’s Portrait begin?


Xie Nanxing (XNX): The three works on paper from 2007 were portraits of a few of my friends. I used my perceptions and opinions of them to shape spatial dislocations and formal distortions and simplifications, then I blended these elements into the stories behind these three works. It was only later that I discovered that all of this unconsciously inspired the narrative elements in my paintings. It was an inadvertent starting point, a flash of inspiration, but then I discovered that this flash of inspiration had substance, and was something very essential. These three works are the earliest in this portrait exhibition. They are almost primal, and they have influenced many of my later works.     


CCC: What is this narrative about?


XNX: The narrative itself doesn’t have a lot of meaning; it is simply a thread woven through my work, which naturally links to a number of themes. For example, these works on paper suggest the posture of the figure, the composition of the image, and my attitudes toward certain ideas.


CCC: How does your form of expression differ from the portraits of the past?


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Someone’s Portrait, 2013. Oil on canvas, 120 x 80 cm

Someone’s Portrait, 2015. Oil on canvas, 150 x 120 cm.

Someone’s Portrait, 2014. Oil on canvas. 100 x 80 cm.

Mr. Fake kicks his friends out No. 1-3, 2007. Color on paper, 30x42 cm each


Xie Nanxing


Born 1970

Chongqing, China


Xie Nanxing reveals how artistic expression can manifest from such assorted influences. At the very least, Nanxing’s paintings are memorable for their immaculate surfaces - despite their very large, 3m span. But, like the innumerable stories within China itself, there is much more to tell.

Nanxing hails from Chongqing, and lives and works in the provincial capital Chengdu (Sichuan). It was there, in the South West of the Chinese land mass, that Nanxing studied visual arts for seven years.

He graduated to the lofty heights of representation by a Swiss gallery. In 1999, Nanxing garnered critical acclaim at the prestigious Venice Biennale for his exquisite, in-your-face, paintings of an injured naked body.


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